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30×30 Guest Artist : Liz Steel

May 15, 2018

30×30 with Liz Steel

Liz Steel needs no introduction to readers of this blog!

Liz is the co-creator of #OneWeek100People2018, our week-long drawing-sprint that was the model for this bigger and better 30×30 marathon.

She’s the force of nature behind the worldwide artists’ community SketchingNow, and of course her immensely popular blog Both of which are packed with practical advice on location drawing, sketchbook journaling, and – increasingly – painting in watercolor. She can also be found on Instagram at @lizsteelart.

Liz is the sketcher who showed me the value of speed. (So important to a reportage artist!). When we first met, I thought I was pretty fast. Yet – she was doing three for every one of my pages, showing me what a real travel-journal could be like.

In a way, it was her, and other journal-keepers like her in the online community, that put me on my 10-year path towards Direct Watercolor.

Five Questions for Liz about #30x30DirectWatercolor2018:

When you think about 30 days of daily practice – do you have a theme or a goal that might guide your work the month?

Liz : As I’ll be traveling for the entire month of June, I won’t have any themes – except that I’ll be sketching different subject matter every day. I’ll be in Italy, Scotland, and Poland during June. < Ha! What an incredible way to do a 30×30! ~m)

Are there any specific materials or techniques you plan to investigate? Will you use your reliable tools, or use this time to experiment with a new thing?

Liz : I’ll use my normal materials – my standard watercolor palette and my 1/2 inch dagger brush (by Rosemary & Co) and I don’t expect to do any experimentation in regard to different materials/tools. This is because I’m traveling and limited to my most essential stuff.

Do you think 30×30 will be a challenge? Or is one painting a day easy for you?

Liz : Once again, because I’m traveling (and not teaching this trip!) this should be very doable. I normally sketch six days a week, doing a number of drawings a day. (Sunday is my rest day). What’s fun about this challenge is, it’ll force me to do at least one paint-only sketch per day. I normally start with ‘direct watercolor’ but add lines halfway through the sketch – so it’s only occasionally that I create paint-only sketches. I’ll have to be intentional to meet this challenge!

Let’s have a small tip! Give us a strategy people might use to reach the goal of 30×30?

Liz : Keep it simple! A 30 day challenge is a big commitment, so try to stick to simple subjects to paint – even if you want to sketch out on location for most of the month, make sure you have some ideas for everyday still life composition at home.

What do you hope have gained at the end of the 30-day marathon?

Liz : I want to develop some clear strategies for working with paint only. At the moment it’s a little random. I don’t know when starting my sketch whether I’ll just use paint, or add some ink lines at some point. Without any ink I’ll have to be more intentional with my washes – especially as my practice is to sketch very quickly.

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